Reimagining Culture: Histories, Identities and the Gaelic Renaissance

Reimagining Culture: Histories, Identities and the Gaelic Renaissance

by Sharon Macdonald, Sharon MacDonald, S. MacDonald
     
 

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Since the 1960s, policies to 'revive' minority cultures and languages have flourished. But what does it mean to have a 'cultural identity'? And are minorities as deeply attached to their languages and traditions as revival policies suppose? This book is a sophisticated analysis of responses to the 'Gaelic renaissance' in a Scottish Hebridean community. Its

Overview

Since the 1960s, policies to 'revive' minority cultures and languages have flourished. But what does it mean to have a 'cultural identity'? And are minorities as deeply attached to their languages and traditions as revival policies suppose? This book is a sophisticated analysis of responses to the 'Gaelic renaissance' in a Scottish Hebridean community. Its description of everyday conceptions of belonging and interpretations of cultural policy takes us into the world of Gaelic playgroups, crofting, local history, religion and community development. Historically and theoretically informed, this book challenges many of the ways in which we conventionally think about ethnic and national identity.

This accessible and engaging account of life in this remote region of Europe provides an original and timely contribution to questions of considerable currency in a broad range of social science disciplines.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“This book is [...] a simply remarkable, straightforward and really detailed lookat how a Gaelic community works.” —Stornaway Gazette

“Overall, this is a book which will be of interest to those researching the Highlands in the twentieth century. Although the focus is strongly local, the discussion is securely grounded in historical background and social science references.” —The Scottish Historical Review

“Sharon Macdonald has written a timely and important book that deserves serious attention from anyone interested in the anthropology of Europe.” —Anthropological Quarterly

“Thank heavens, then, for Sharon Macdonald and Berg, who can claim credit for this excellent book...It is built on a profound knowledge of and ethnographic familiarity with Hebridean cultures, to which he (Edwin Ardener) aspired, but it also rises above the parochial to comment meaningfully on contemporary currents in Scottish nationalism and politics and, yet more generally, on the complex interrelationships of language and culture. Macdonald is steeped in her field. She writes with authority of crofting strategy, literature, Presbyterianism, and domestic relationships. She moves easily from discussion of the politics of the local co-operative enterprise to the politics of language and linguistic revival. Her account is all the more telling for its modesty and self deprecating allusions, for the lucidity of its style, and for the obvious affection and respect in which she holds the people about whom she writes...The depth of scholarship which lies beneath Macdonald's version of this narrative, and the craft with which it is told, are unmistakable. This is a very mature piece of anthropology indeed.” —Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford (JASO)

Stornaway Gazette

This book is [...] a simply remarkable, straightforward and really detailed lookat how a Gaelic community works.
The Scottish Historical Review

Overall, this is a book which will be of interest to those researching the Highlands in the twentieth century. Although the focus is strongly local, the discussion is securely grounded in historical background and social science references.
Anthropological Quarterly

Sharon Macdonald has written a timely and important book that deserves serious attention from anyone interested in the anthropology of Europe.
Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford (JASO)

Thank heavens, then, for Sharon Macdonald and Berg, who can claim credit for this excellent book...It is built on a profound knowledge of and ethnographic familiarity with Hebridean cultures, to which he (Edwin Ardener) aspired, but it also rises above the parochial to comment meaningfully on contemporary currents in Scottish nationalism and politics and, yet more generally, on the complex interrelationships of language and culture. Macdonald is steeped in her field. She writes with authority of crofting strategy, literature, Presbyterianism, and domestic relationships. She moves easily from discussion of the politics of the local co-operative enterprise to the politics of language and linguistic revival. Her account is all the more telling for its modesty and self deprecating allusions, for the lucidity of its style, and for the obvious affection and respect in which she holds the people about whom she writes...The depth of scholarship which lies beneath Macdonald's version of this narrative, and the craft with which it is told, are unmistakable. This is a very mature piece of anthropology indeed.
Booknews
MacDonald (social anthropology, U. of Sheffield) analyzes the responses to the movement to revive Gaelic language, literature, and culture in a community in the Scottish Hebrides Islands. She describes everyday conceptions of belonging and interpretations of cultural policy in playgroups, crofting, local history, religion, and community development. Developed from a doctoral dissertation, for which neither date nor institution are named. Distributed in the US by New York University Press. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781859739853
Publisher:
Bloomsbury Academic
Publication date:
11/28/1997
Series:
Ethnicity and Identity Series, #7
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.66(d)

Related Subjects

Meet the Author

Sharon Macdonald is a Senior Lecturer in Social Anthropology and Sociology,at the University of Sheffield.

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